Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Where Are All the College Towns?

So this weekend I and futuremrsGHABB,Y took a field trip to the cherry blossom-laden landscape of Charlottesville, Virginia, for the purpose of her brother's wedding. We laughed, we drank, we cried, we drank, we danced, we drank, and we drank. A good time was had by all, provided that "all" does not include my liver, colon, or back. Hooray for matrimony, yada yada.

However, the one thing I took away from this weekend more than any other (save for irregular BMs) was the awesomeness of Charlottesville itself. It was, simply put, as great a “college town” as you could find. A huge, picturesque campus served as the backdrop to a town filled with lively bars, cool shops and restaurants, and plenty of concert venues. Everything was within walking distance of each other. The city had an umistakable vibe of youth, progress and fun. If you visit Charlottesville and are under the age of 30, there’s a 80% chance you will immediately want to move there. And it’s not just Charlottesville, as I’ve had the same feeling of “this is the perfect college town, I wish I went here,” when visiting places like Gainesville, Happy Valley and even College Park, Maryland.

One place you won’t get these feelings however is in New England, which is ironic because this area houses more colleges than anywhere else in the world. Yet, with all of these colleges (and the money flowing through these colleges), is there anywhere that you could really call a “college town” on par with places like Charlottesville or Austin? Most of the larger colleges around here are either a) in remote dumps in which there are nothing to do, b) in characterless suburbs or c) so ingrained in the heart of the city that it’s impossible to tell where campus starts and the city begins. Is there really a true “college town” in New England?

This lack of a college town also leads to the lack of college sports support around here. The closest thing we have to a major college program is BC, and half of that school is from Jersey and the other half commutes. UMass, UNH, UVM and Maine are all second- or even third-class citizens as state schools go, with no hope of becoming anything more. UConn is at least making an effort, though its custody battle between Massachusetts and New York is still ongoing.

No, what we need is a definite “college town,” though I’m not sure if that’s even possible around here. It’s a shame too, because we’re really missing out.


futuremrsrickankiel said...

Needs Pictures!

Sh!tShow said...

Have never been to Charlottesville, but having checked out Austin I couldn't agree more. Best city I've ever visited.

A Pimp Named DaveR said...